Research center

Creativity and Innovation Research Center (CIRCE)

The research activities of the centre focus on creativity and innovation in organisations. On the one hand, we study management methods, as well as organisational and spatial designs empowering creativity and innovation in organisations. On the other hand, we question the relevance of the traditional vision of management to face current challenges of our society, using creative techniques to explore innovative managerial modalities. This two-fold approach of creativity and innovation targets at supporting the same adaptation requirement that organisations face, would they be public or private: adaptation of their “offer” to satisfy customers or stakeholders with products and services meeting truly their needs; adaptation of their managerial processes to confront society transformation more efficiently and more sustainably. We study those crucial managerial problems at various levels of the organisation(s): individual, group, organisation, network and ecosystem. Understanding those different levels is necessary to adopt a systemic view, which is necessary to take into account the internal and external complexity of organisations and, consequently, to develop methods and practices that make sense in their complex reality. Our research aims at questioning the relevance of managerial methods that are sometimes admitted for decades, in the light of current and future sociological, environmental, political, technological and ethical conditions that organisations have to face.

In this context, creativity and innovation are not only study topics but also research methods to reshape the management of organisations outside the traditional managerial paradigms.  This means that, besides quantitative and qualitative methods used classically in social sciences, we intend to develop and use more recent research methodologies, as simulation, action research and experimentation. In addition to their capacity to extend our research perspectives, those methods are particularly adapted to the co-design, with actors in organisations, of new managerial practices, new organisational spaces or ICT design. For this purpose, the centre can benefit from the creative hub of the region – namely the TRAKK – that was co-developed by UNamur and community partners (Namur City, Namur Province, Economic Bureau of the Province, firms, etc.).

Society is evolving from an industrial era to an era of knowledge, where the added value depends not only on the capability to offer goods or services but also (sometimes exclusively) on the ability to co-build services with the customer (consumer, patient, citizen, student, etc.) and on the agility to make them evolved in shorter cycles of innovation. Such a shift, accelerated by the new possibilities opened up by digital technologies, changes considerably the role of socio-economic stakeholders. It requires that organisations develop new abilities to integrate customers and partners in their processes, especially when innovation is at stake. Through our research and its applications, we intend to contribute to this new economy, supporting the various stakeholders in their own transition towards more participatory operating modes.  Our first field of application will be our local community, as our region is rich in industries that are immediately faced with this challenge, namely public services, healthcare, education, tourism and leisure, as well as the digital industry, important enabler of this evolution.